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Worth the Wait: Moniteau Boys Get First D9 Title while Ending Brookville’s Reign

Photo courtesy of the Moniteau School District

CLARION, Pa. – To win its first-ever District 9 boys’ basketball title, Moniteau had to survive an inadvertent whistle with 0.4 of a second left followed by a Brookville 3-point shot that rimmed in and out leaving the Warriors with the Class 3A title, 58-57, at PennWest Clarion’s Tippin Gym Thursday night.

“It is the most satisfying feeling in the world,” Moniteau head coach Mike Jewart said in a phone interview after the game.. “I played at Moniteau. I have coached at Moniteau for over 20 years at some level The fact we were able to battle back and pull this game out. I am so damn proud of these kids.”

Rewatch the game

The Warriors (13-10), who trailed by seven with under three minutes to play, took a 58-57 lead when sophomore point guard Andrew Zepeda hit the front end of a two-shot foul with 6.3 seconds left.


But before Moniteau could even begin to think about celebrating they had to survive an insane final 3.8 seconds.

After Brookville (11-12), who had won mulitple D9 crowns in a row, got the rebound and called timeout with 3.8 to play, the Raiders’ Jack Pete was fouled with 2.4 seconds left.

“I was concerned because Jack Pete had one heck of a game,” Jewart said. “He can play for my team any day. He can play for my team any day. He was doing everything he could so that his team wouldn’t lose. I was really concerned they were going to get him the ball somehow, some way.”

But Pete, who had a game-high 23 points, missed both free throws.

Caleb Kornbau, though, came flying in, got the offensive rebound, and threw up a wild shot to try to win the game.


That shot was no good, and it appeared Moniteau had secured the title when David Dessicino grabbed the rebound.

“When I saw the ball miss and Dessicino get it, I thought the game was over,” Jewart said.

But just as Dessicino was pulling in the championship-winning carrom, a whistle sounded.

No one quite knew what had happened, and after a lengthy discussion, the officials determined one of them had blown an inadvertent whistle. In addition, they ruled that the whistle happened before Dessicino had control of the ball meaning it was Brookville’s ball under its hoops following the possession arrow.

“I just knew that call was going against us,” Jewart said. “I knew we were going to have to defend for 0.4. I knew Pete and Haines weren’t going to catch the ball. Whatever we didn’t, those two weren’t going to beat us.”
After a pair of timeouts, the Raiders got the ball to Luke Burton in the high left corner for a potential game-winning 3-pointer. But Burton’s shot rimmed out setting off a celebration for the Warriors.

“I thought we lost,” Jewart said. “It looked good. When it rimmed out holy crap we just won the D9 title. There was a bunch of emotions. I was excited for my guys. I was excited for our schools and our community. There was just a lot of emotion.”

Some of that emotion was personal for Jewart, who lost his youngest son Sam in early October and said that his team, this group of young men, have helped him get through such a difficult time.

“These guys helped me as much as I helped them,” Jewart said. “On bad days they were there for me.”

Moniteau trailed 54-47 following a Burton 3-pointer with 3:10 to play that capped a quick 7-0 run for the Raiders in a span of 1:23.

But Chason Delarosa-Rugg wasn’t about to let his career end.


The senior drilled a 3-pointer with 2:47 left to make it 54-50, and then he was fouled by Pete with 2:21 to go shooting a 3-pointer.

When Delarosa-Rugg knocked down all three freebies, Moniteau was back within one, 56-55.

“Chason was one hell of a leader tonight,” Jewart said. “It was a defensive suggestion he made that really changed the game for us. He suggested we go to a diamond trap because he watched Clarion-Limestone use it against them. We hadn’t really practiced it, but I was like we have 2 ½ minutes left, let’s go to it. It worked. It caused Brookville a ton of problems. Chason has been great all year, and he was great tonight.”

The Warriors then took the lead on a Zepeda basket with just over a minute to play, 57-56, before Kellan Haines tied the game at 57 when he hit one of two free throws with 39.6 seconds left.

Moniteau held the ball until Zepeda made a move and was fouled with 6.3 seconds left setting off the wild ending.

“I love this team,” Jewart said. “This is probably the most fun I have had coaching. These guys challenge each other. Our practices are so much fun. The sophomores talk at the seniors and the seniors start talking back. It makes our practices so competitive. It is so much fun. I have never had a group like this.”

Delarosa-Rugg led Moniteau with 20 points while Zepeda added 18. Ayden Jackson added eight, all in the fourth quarter.

Burton chipped in 11 for Brookville.

Moniteau will face eight Westinghouse or Chestnut Ridge in the District 5-8-9 subregional title game at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 1, at Tippin Gym.


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